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Cost revealed of troubled family life

Prime Minister David Cameron has made turning around the fortunes of troubled families a priority of his premiership

Prime Minister David Cameron has made turning around the fortunes of troubled families a priority of his premiership

Hundreds of the borough’s most troubled families have been singled out for extra support in the last two years.

Prime Minister David Cameron (pictured) set out his intention to “turn around” 120,000 troubled families in the aftermath of the 2011 riots, focusing on those deemed to be causing a higher cost to the public purse - in the region of £75,000 per family.

St Helens signed up to the scheme in March 2012 and - challenged to help 520 families by 2015 - has already identified 170 of the borough’s most troubled families.

A dedicated family intervention team has also been set up to provide intensive support to the most complex families - particularly those either displaying chronic neglect or who are on the edge of costly care proceedings.

So far, 62 of the 170 identified families have made improvements in terms of school attendance, reduced offending, reduced anti social behaviour or progress to work.

In a report for St Helens Council’s safer communities panel, it was also revealed that local Home Start workers are being commissioned to recruit volunteers to be matched with families to promote a positive family life.

In St Helens, 96 families a year are already helped by Addaction’s “breaking the cycle” project and Home Start help 12 families a year.

But further agencies are now being utilised to ensure that appropriate resources are allocated to support each family’s needs.

In the report, Priority Families Project manager Paul Simon told how the project aims to secure the consent of families by focusing on the extra help and support being offered.

He wrote: “The Priority Families Project has the potential to truly make a positive difference to the lives of some of our most complex and resource draining families and ultimately avoid the expensive result of enforcement interventions and young people going into the care system.”

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